Review: Worked Up by Tessa Bailey

Monday, August 1, 2016

Worked Up by Tessa Bailey
Series: Made in Jersey, Book 3
Publisher: Entangled: Brazen
Genre: Erotic Contemporary Romance Worked Up Cover
ISBN: 9781633757080
Release Date: August 1, 2016
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

Factory mechanic Duke Crawford just wants to watch SportsCenter in peace. Unfortunately, living with four divorcee sisters doesn’t provide much silence, nor does it change his stance on relationships. But when a fellow commitment-phobe stumbles into his life, getting him good and worked up, he can’t deny his protective instincts.

Samantha Waverly’s brother just put her in an impossible situation. The only way out? Marry huge, gruff, gladiator look-alike Duke—for show, of course. She doesn’t make promises—she knows too well how easily they can be broken—and this is no exception.

As the blistering attraction between them grows, the lines around the no-strings relationship blur. But Duke and Samantha’s marriage is only for show…or is it?

Worked Up is a sweet and spicy romance with endearing characters. Commitment-phobes and quickie marriages that become all-too-real aren’t new to romance, but author Tessa Bailey makes this story stand apart from the rest with her unique characters.

Sam is an artist with a big heart and a sunny disposition. She’s the queen of bad puns (which I adored) and is desperate to make her vision of Art on Wheels – a program that would benefit children – a reality. How could you not root for a heroine like her? Duke, in turn, is a giant pouty man bear who acts like all he wants to do with his free time is watch SportsCenter, when really he’s an incredibly generous, giving soul who worries about everyone. Both of them have hearts as big as Texas (or Jersey, as it were), so even though they may seem like an odd couple at first, Duke and Samantha work really well together. When Worked Up focuses on the characters, the humor, the romance, and the obstacles that threaten to derail Samantha and Duke’s burgeoning relationship, the story is really strong. For me, the story takes a bit of a hit when it comes to the erotic scenes. Duke’s a fan of dirty talk, and though I’m all for that in my romance, his brand of dirty talk felt awkward and pulled me out of the story. In general, there was something stilted about the sex scenes that took away from an otherwise solid (if lighting quick) romance. Chalk it up to personal preference, I suppose.

Worked Up is the third Made in Jersey book, and as I have not read Crashed Out or Thrown Down, I can safely say Duke and Samantha’s book can be read as a standalone. The world of Ms. Bailey’s Hook, New Jersey is appealing and its residents lively; the secondary characters added charm to the story. Yet for all the likeable characters there are in the story, it’s the one not-so-charming character – Samantha’s brother, Renner – who grabbed my attention. By the time I was finished with Worked Up, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Renner’s book. Even though there were a couple of elements to Samantha and Duke’s romance that didn’t appeal to me, I still enjoyed the story overall, so it’s safe to say I’ll be returning to Hook, New Jersey.


FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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